Best Streaming Device 2021 • 7 Streaming Devices Reviews
Who would have thought that we would live in a world where we have so many digital services available at the touch of a button? As if that were not enough, we also have streaming. Whether you use platforms like Netflix, Youtube, or Hulu, you need a streaming device that can connect to your TV. You can stream movies, TV shows and music, download and play video games and even browse websites with the Internet Explorer app — all in the same device. Don’t know what we are talking about? No problem, you are in the right place. Streaming devices have become a staple in our increasingly smart homes. In this article, we have prepared a guide to tell you everything you need to know about streaming devices, including where to find the best ones.
Streaming Device Leaderboard 2021
What is a Streaming Device and how does it work?
Streaming devices are multimedia mini-players that connect to your TV and give you the ability to access all sorts of applications, such as Netflix, Youtube, HBO, and Hulu. Some brands offer streaming devices in the shape of a box, and others in a convenient stick shape.
Chances are high that your TV’s apps are slow, poorly designed, or out of date—and that’s if it has all the apps you want at all. TV makers focus on manufacturing beautiful screens than building good software. Streaming devices like Roku have just about every streaming app there is, and setup is hassle-free. Plus, you can plug one of these devices into your next TV, or another TV in your house, at any time.
What are streaming devices for?
With the rise of streaming services such as Netflix and Youtube, and the arrival of 4K, many users began looking for ways to quickly access the internet and watch movies and TV shows, as well as browse the web. Many new Smart Tvs have their own streaming system built in, but not everyone is satisfied with these, and they can have their limitations.
Many people, therefore, use streaming devices to access the internet as well as their favorite platforms. This is a great way for people to improve their viewing experience, as they are able to choose which TV shows and movies they wish to watch whoever they want.
Advantages and disadvantages of Streaming Devices
Streaming sticks allow us to take advantage of all that the internet has to offer right from our televisions. Whether you use it to listen to music, or watch movies, you have thousands of options available at your fingertips.
- They are portable.
- Installation is very simple.
- They are very small, so they do not take up too much space.
- They are cheaper than Smart TVs.
- They do not work well with weak Wifi signals.
- Some are designed in a way that they can be seen.
Shopping Criteria for Streaming devices
If you are thinking about getting a streaming device, then you are one step away from improving your digital viewing experience. With a streaming device, there are plenty of possibilities when it comes to watching your favorite movies and TV shows. To choose the right one, you should take a few things into account before purchasing, since there is a wide variety on the market, and they all offer different things.
Internet connection quality
The biggest problem with low quality streaming devices is the Wi-Fi connection. This will affect the loading of your videos or the browsing speed and in the end, you will get tired of this. It is best to make sure that your device is compatible with dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz), and if possible, that it has an Ethernet connection.
Streaming sticks typically lack Ethernet ports, which could pose a problem in areas with weak Wi-Fi.
USB Connection Port
As we have mentioned, it is not always important to have a streaming device with a lot of storage capacity, since most of the content people access is online. What is important is to have good USB connection ports so that the data transmission is as optimal as possible.
Unfortunately, not all streaming devices work with all TVs. Either because of the operating system or by the model of your TV, so it is important to make sure that your device will be compatible. To do this, look carefully at the product description, which should clearly indicate which TVs will work with your streaming device.
In general, streaming devices are pretty small. This is an advantage, since it means they can be hidden behind the TV without obstructing your view. However, there are some models that do not have a convenient design. For example, if your TV is mounted on a wall, it may be more difficult for the streaming device to go unseen. Consider this when you are looking at different devices.
Formats and Resolution
In the end, we want our TV to play content in the highest possible quality. Be sure that your streaming device can support the quality that you want. Not everyone needs 4K, since most streaming platforms do not show movies and TV shows this way. You should check that your device at least supports a resolution of 1080 pixels, and 4K, if possible.
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What is needed to configure or install a streaming device?
Installing a streaming device is very simple. Keep in mind that these devices are connected to the HDMI input on your TV, therefore most models will have an HDMI cable that works as a power source. You need an HDMI connection, or an adapter, to use a streaming device, in most cases. Usually, once the connection is made, the TV will automatically recognize the streaming device and it will not require any further configuration. With the included remote control, you should be able to start accessing popular platforms such as Netflix, Youtube, Spotify, as well as thousands of games and applications, among other options.
Is the internal storage of a streaming device important?
To tell the truth, not really. Today, people consume most of their content through streaming services such as Youtube or Netflix, so it is normal to not need much storage. However, if your goal is to save videos, images, or movies, look for a streaming device with at least 8 GB of storage. It’s rare to find a streaming stick with more than 8GB of internal memory. Their limited storage space also restricts software upgrade options. Upgrades and new apps tend to increase in size, which could be a problem for devices with only around 8GB of internal storage.
What operating systems work with streaming devices?
There is actually universal operating systems for these types of devices. Some incorporate Android TV, while others have their own systems, such as Amazon or Apple. Other streaming devices that have their own operating systems can vary in what they offer the user. For example, Android users might be able to get more use from an Android TV device, while those using an iPhone and Mac might prefer the Apple TV. Roku has also pushed into the television market with its Roku TV platform. The company doesn’t make TVs itself, but it offers its technology to manufacturers to incorporate into their screens. This has allowed many more budget-priced televisions to include connected features they couldn’t use a few years ago, while keeping prices low.
What resolutions and formats do streaming devices offer?
This is perhaps the aspect that makes the most difference when deciding between streaming devices. Some players support a maximum resolution of 1080 pixels, while others can support 4K. Besides the resolution, you should check if it supports HDR content and if it has a Dolby certification. Not all streaming sticks and boxes are able to handle 4K content, so if you have a 4K TV, you’ll want to get one that can stream 4K videos; the reverse is also true, as a non-4K TV won’t be able to display 4K content.
What other interesting features do streaming devices have?
There are several advantages to having a streaming device. The possibilities will depend on the manufacturer, and they are not all the same. This is actually an advantage, since not everyone wants the same things when it comes to streaming. Voice commands can allow you to use your voice to turn on your TV, adjust the sound, or search for content. Virtual assistants on the other hand handle with virtual assistants such as Alexa (Amazon) or Siri (Apple), you can ask them to perform any function using your device. For example, you can ask them to start playing an episode of your favorite series. “Lost Remote” button will play a sound from your remote control so you can find it quickly if you lose it. Night mode will be in the listening mode automatically adjusts the volume of your content to avoid waking children, which is ideal for families with small children.
The product recommendations in this article are made solely by the sponsor and are not recommendations made by VentureBeat.